Refreshed internals, lower price point possible.
Apple On Track for NFC-Enabled iPhone in 2012?
Following conflicting rumors about whether the iPhone 4S would include near field communication (NFC) technology (rumors that were eventually decided in the negative), Digitimes reports that Apple is indeed one of the vendors still expected to introduce NFC-enabled operating system software (and thus hardware) in 2012. Apple's inclusion of NFC in next year's iPhone would appear to come as part of a tipping point for the technology, with the technology's prevalence in the smartphone industry set to increase from about 10% to over 50% in the span of two to three years.
As Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Bada have supported NFC (near field communication) functions and Microsoft and Apple plan to make Windows Phone and iOS support NFC in 2012, the proportion of NFC-enabled smartphones will quickly increase from less than 10% currently to over 50% in two to three years, according to Taiwan-based smartphone makers.NFC standardization issues have been one problem slowing adoption of the technology, but with 45 wireless carriers including AT&T and Verizon now signed on to a SIM-based standard, those issues may be reaching a resolution.
Back-and-forth rumors about whether NFC would appear in the 2011 version of the iPhone led to considerable uncertainty about where Apple stood on the technology, with The New York Times noting in March that NFC would be a part of a "coming iteration" of the iPhone without specifying a product generation. By mid-May, Bernstein analysts correctly predicted not only that NFC would not be included in Apple's forthcoming iPhone hardware but that the new iPhone would be an iPhone 4S and not a radically redesigned iPhone 5.